HALFWAY through a just-released Pentagon paperback, there's a
map with the location of every strategic force installation in the
United States marked on it. Bomber bases are distinguished by small
airplane icons, ICBM bases by small missiles, Navy sub bases by
tiny submarines... .
Every single base is in the wrong place.
A correction sticker notes that a printing error moved all
installations hundreds of miles to the left of their real locations.
Thus, several Air Force bases in the Northeast have been
relocated to Canada; the Charleston, S.C., Navy base is well inland
in northern Georgia; and the Bangor, Wash., sub base is out in the
Pacific - a "weird, 'Dr. No' underwater kind of thing," notes a
Eagerly awaited report
Welcome to the Department of Defense Annual Report to Congress
for 1992. It's one paperback whose authors will never appear on
morning talk TV. But, for many of those Washingtonians whose jobs
revolve around defense, the annual report is still one of the most
eagerly awaited publications of the year.
A public document issued around budget submission time, the
annual report is largely an attempt to explain and justify what the
Defense Department has done during the year.
That's different from the Defense Planning Guidance, a secret
series of documents on US strategy in the world that's supposed to
be the intellectual foundation for US defense structure.
The classified Guidance documents are those that have been
reported in recent days as recommending the US make sure it remains
top dog in a one-superpower world, and laying out numerous war
scenarios the Pentagon might plan against.
As for the annual report, it has become less and less bellicose.
Back in 1985, one of the first sections in the book was bluntly
labeled "The Soviet Threat," and featured all kinds of complicated
charts showing how fearsome the USSR's military power was. This
year, there isn't any table of contents listing for "threat" at all.
"The East-West confrontation is over," admits the report. "We
are now in the midst of one of the most profound defense reductions
in American history."
But that doesn't mean the Pentagon is going to stand meekly by
while Congress dictates the budget cuts it must absorb.
Charts in the book show the Defense Department is, indeed,
planning for its funds to continue to shrink for several years. …